Peshawar, Jan 20 (IANS) At least 15 people, including four gunmen, were killed when terrorists stormed the Bacha Khan University in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Wednesday, Dawn reported citing sources from the Edhi Foundation emergency assistance service.
The gunmen opened fire at students and faculty members who had gathered in a school on the varsity campus for a poetry recital to commemorate the anniversary of the activist and leader after whom the school is named.
Lt General Asim Bajwa, the Pakistan army spokesperson, said on Twitter that four attackers had been killed and that government troops had resumed control of all buildings and rooftops.
There were conflicting reports from the site initially with CNN news placing the toll at seven. “It’s not yet clear how many of the dead are attackers and how many are civilians,” a CNN report said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack in the “strongest terms”.
“…Sharif is deeply grieved over the sad incident of terrorists’ attack on Bacha Khan University… which has reportedly resulted in the loss of precious human lives and injured many others,” a statement from his office said.
“While condemning the cowardly attack of the terrorists, the prime minister said those killing innocent students and citizens have no faith and religion,” the statement said.
“We are determined and resolved in our commitment to wipe out the menace of terrorism from our homeland. The countless sacrifices made by our countrymen will not go in vain,” the statement quoted Sharif, who is currently in Zurich, as saying.
State-run PTV quoted a police official as saying that three armed men entered the university premises and opened fire.
Heavy firing took place inside Bacha Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Charsadda town as security forces, rushed to the site, engaged the armed assailants in a gun fight, witnesses said. Several people also heard explosions, a media report said.
A woman inside the university told Dawn that intense firing could be heard.